Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pages Books Signboard

A while back I posted an entry on a window display I did for Pages Bookstore in Toronto over the winter. Shortly afterwards, I was asked by owner Marc Glassman if I wanted to design a sandwich board for them. Having really enjoyed the experience of painting the large pieces for the window display, I said yes on the condition that I got to paint the final boards myself, rather than having them fabricated or painted by someone else.

Below are some sketches and photos showing the progress from rough idea to completed signboards.

After a few initial thumbnails, this was the final colour sketch I drew up for the 2 sides of the signboard. Originally, I was hoping to find some way to have the top of the heads protude above the sign, but that proved unfeasable.

Here they are in progress at the studio. The boards were just over 4 feet tall by 2 and 1/2 feet wide, and I painted them in acrylics.

And an installed view of the final boards. Not much difference from sketch to final, just a few minor tweaks here and there on the images.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Toronto back alleys pt 9

My sincere thanks to everyone who has commented on this series of drawings. I've had a lot of fun working on them -- it's been a good way for me to get loose and spontaneous after a few years of doing very slick and tight commercial illustrations for children's books.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Toronto back alleys pt 8

I noticed today that the leaves on the trees are already losing that new-green colour and becoming rich and dark for summer. Personally, I like that early green the best, especially when the trees are wet and black after a rain. Then that lime colour just sizzles to me.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Toronto back alleys pt 7

This one's really more like Toronto back yards.

I enjoy drawing in all the wires, cable-boxes, satelite dishes, pipes and antennaes that sprout out of downtown homes. To me, these back yards and alleys are natural places. They seem to evolve slowly and in unexpected ways - a new rooftop deck here, a new addition to the kitchen there (maybe with some aluminum siding and a rebuilt laundry pole) -- it all seems very organic. Its in sharp contrast to all the giant waterfront condos and preplanned communities going up around Toronto lately.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Toronto back alleys pt 6

A couple more spring-time drawings of the back alleys in my neighbourhood.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Toronto back alleys pt 5

Another drawing of back alleys in my neighbourhood. Its spring now and all the city trees have new green on them, so I've tried to include a hint of that in this sketch. Like most of the other drawings I've posted lately, this one was also drawn in brush-pens on cream coloured paper.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My favourite superheroes Pt. 3

Continuing on my recent theme of favourite childhood superheroes:

Captain America!

I don't know about you, but these days when I mention I like Captain America to non-comic readers, they often look at me like I'm insane. They can accept Spider-man and Batman because of the recent movies, but to many of them, the idea of a guy running around wearing a flag and being patriotic seems hopelessly old-fashioned and ridiculous. Or worse: ultra-conservative and jingoistic. And certainly some of the Captain America comics I've seen recently don't help the point. I read one where he threw a terrorist bad-guy to his death from a train. After that, I closed the comic and threw it away.

But it wasn't always this way. The Captain America I read as a kid was a Kirby super-hero! That meant he stood for truth and justice, not trash-talking and revenge. And he was always the underdog in those stories, always taking a pounding and always struggling against impossible odds to show how anyone with will and determination could find a way to triumph against oppression and injustice. He didn't kill any one. He fought fascists. What more can I say? It was good adventure stuff for a kid to read and grow up on.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More collaborative goodies

Last week was very hectic and busy, so its time to post another drawing "from the files". This one was a collaborative page that was printed in the book that the excellent Toronto comic shop, the Beguiling, put together to give away at last year's Free Comic Day. They ran a series of 1 and 2 page stories showcasing a variety of canadian comic talent and this one was the contribution by Darwyn Cooke, Brian McLachlan and myself.

Now how did I get mixed up with such illustrious canadian cartoonists on such a momentous continuity-shaking project? Well, its a long story. The short version is that Darwyn Cooke was given two pages in the book, and generously offered to share one with Brian McLachlan. After trying to brainstorm a one page idea together for a while with little success, somehow Darwyn decided that the funniest thing for him to draw would involve me in a cowboy hat (even longer story there, so forget it). So he roughed out the story and drew up a quick pencil page, which he sprung on me to ink up the day before it was due at the printers. Nice.

Anyway, to make up for the short amount of time, Darwyn very graciously told me I could walk all over his drawing, and redraw things as I saw fit. His mistake. Needless to say, I took him at his word and changed/botched/mis-read everything! Now, while I was inking this, Brian wrote the excellent dialog and jokes to go with the story and we got it all in just a couple of seconds before the deadline. And of course, I got my revenge for the cowboy hat joke by doing a terrible set of likenesses of us all in the last panel.